CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Ster ling Marlin, who led the NASCAR Winston Cup standings for 25 weeks, will miss the rest of the season because of a fractured vertebra in his neck.
Marlin was injured in a crash Sunday in Kansas City, Kan., and the break in his vertebra was diagnosed Wednesday in Char lotte, the Chip Ganassi Racing team said.
''It is unfortunate that Ster ling has to end his season early due to his injury,'' Chip Ganassi said. ''Sterling has dominated the championship points race, and we were looking forward
to helping him win his first NASCAR Winston Cup title. We are expecting Sterling to make a full recovery and be ready to go for the title chase again in 2003.''
Jamie McMurray, hired to drive a third car for Chip Ganassi Racing next year, will drive the No. 40 Dodge Intrepid for the rest of the season and complete the Busch Series schedule.
But McMurray will have to miss the Winston Cup race in Martinsville, Va., later this month because the Busch Series, where he is committed to finish out the season, will be racing in Memphis, Tenn., that weekend. No driver for the No. 40 car has been named for the Martinsville, Va., race.
CREW CHIEF CHANGES: Tommy Baldwin, one of the most-coveted crew chiefs on the NASCAR Winston Cup Series a couple years ago, left his post at Bill Davis Racing on Tuesday. He was quickly replaced by Frank Stoddard, who was fired as Jeff Burton's crew chief three weeks ago.
At the same time, Jimmy Makar, the only crew chief Joe Gibbs has ever had for his No. 18 Pontiac driven by Bobby La bonte, announced he was accepting a job as team manager at Joe Gibbs Racing.
PIT STOPS: Todd Bodine quit his ride on the Busch Series to concentrate his other full-time job with Haas Carter Motor sports on the Winston Cup Se ries. Bodine drove for Herzog Jackson Motorsports on the Busch Series. One of the owners is baseball legend Reggie Jack son. Because there's no Busch Series race this week, the team has not hired a replacement yet ... The NASCAR Craftsman Truck Se ries will move from ESPN to the Speed Network next season.
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